Setting up your six-bagger

Marty Bergen
Marty Bergen

Source: ACBL Bridge Bulletin 10/2006

West leads the K. A typical North player would have rebid 2, ending the auction. Despite your great shape, with a
puny 7 high-card points and a misfit for diamond, you would have been forced to call it a day.

Fortunately, this North was a charter member of the » support partner major whenever possible» club. He liked his spades well enough to raise to 2. This made everything easy. Having located a fit, you reevaluated your very distributional hand and lost no time jumping to 4.

You win the opening heart lead with dummy’s ace – that was easy. You have five tricks in high cards. The best approach to win five additional tricks, however, is far from clear. The spotlight is on you. Take good look at the North–South cards, and make your decision before reading on.

Here are the four possible lines of play:
1. draw trumps now,
2. crossruff,
3. set up dummy´s diamonds, or
4. set up your clubs .

I hope that you would not begin by drawing trumps. Some players might try to crossruff dummy’s red suits and your clubs. Because of your terrible spade spots and your combined length in both minor suits, however, you are likely to get overrruffed at some point. You might consider setting up dummy´s diamonds. Unfortunately, once the A was knocked out, even if diamonds divide 3-3, you lack the entries to get back to the board and eventually run diamonds.
The correct line of play is to set up your club suit. When in doubt in a suit contract, declarer should develop his own longest side suit. What are the entries to your band? Your trumps!

Lead a club to your ace and ruff a club. Now cash the ace and king of spade. Once both opponents follow, you are home free – as long as you persist with clubs. Even though the defender’s clubs don´t divide 3-3, you can’t be stopped from eventually establishing two winners in your long suit. Regardless of what West does after winning his 10, you will lose only two club tricks and the J.

Here is the entire deal: